Monday, August 16, 2010

Why the Right to Own a Gun is Fundamental



I'm using the above story as an example in a paper I am writing on the right to arms. The relevant part of the paper:

Suppose that when John Lee had pulled his gun out, someone had coercively prevented him from using it. Suppose, for the sake of the argument, that the gun had been a revolver, and someone grasped the cylinder, preventing it from turning and aligning a fresh round with the barrel. Clearly, that person would be violating Mr. Lee's property rights in the gun but, just as obviously, they would also be violating his right to defend himself. Part of the reason this sort of forceful interference would be a rights-violating act is that, in addition to his property rights, he has a right of self-defense.

Since this is a matter of right, this would seem to be true regardless of the motives of the person who deprives him of the means of defending himself. As far as the question of whether his rights are being violated is concerned, it makes no difference whether the person is an accomplice of the attackers, or whether they are motivated by a sincere belief that defensive violence is wrong. If there is a right of self-defense, it is being violated in either case.

If that is so, then a right of self-defense rules out the power to coercively deprive one of every means of exercising it.

That would mean that the right to self-defense rules out ordinances that ban weapons such as Mr. Lee's life-saving Glock semi-automatic.

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